200 Reasons Not To Leave Dublin

Posted April 25, 2012 in More

The Irish are a nation of emigrants. After a brief respite, we’re back to boats and planes as vehicles for careers and lives. But Dublin’s still a great place to live, regardless of how small it might seem or how long the dole queue is. In March 1984, InDublin magazine provided two hundred reasons for the city’s denizens not to leave its dreary streets and, after Brand New Retro brought it back to our attention, we felt like it might be a good idea to update for a new generation about to make a big decision.

1. Chipper chips

There is nothing in the world that can replicate the salivation, nostalgia and vinegar coughs that assault you when you smell that bag of chips.

2. Vincent Browne

There are no-nonsense, bullshit-filtering political interviewers, and then there’s Vincent Browne, scowling at Martin McGuinness from behind a pile of books and calling Dylan Haskins Declan intentionally on live TV.

3. Deli counters

Deli counters exist in other countries, but they do not sell entire greasy breakfasts in baguettes. Irish on-the-go cuisine meets the needs of the hungover populace.

4. Pints of Guinness

Wait for it. Watch it swirl around. Grow a moustache, so that when it’s finally settled, you can dip it into the creamy head, sip and then give your opinion on the pint in the specific establishment in which you’re sat. There is a difference, you insist.

5. The Iveagh Gardens

The only city centre park that seems to enforce some kind of nebulous door policy, the Iveagh Gardens are the other good thing the Guinness family gave to the city.

6. Temperate climate

It might be too wet all the time, but it’s never too hot or too cold, really. Your skin can’t take the sun anyway.

7. Your family

Your family live here and they will be really unhappy if you move far away.

8. Croke Park

This country has an 82,000 seat stadium devoted to a set of sports that your primary school teacher used to play at the highest level. Appreciate that.

9. David Norris

In 1992, homosexuality was illegal in this country. Now it’s not. David Norris, whether or not he enticed you to vote for him, is a rare sort of public figure.

10. Culchiedom

If you are from Dublin, you live your life around the tacit fact that you are superior to people from the country by birth. If you leave Ireland, no-one will care.

11. Burritos  

Okay, they have burritos everywhere, but they’re probably full of fancy stuff and complications. Stick to Boojum, Pablo Picante and Burritos & Blues.

12. Statues with derisory names

It’s difficult to imagine any piece of public art in Dublin that wouldn’t be mercilessly bullied by the citizens. If the Lady Liberty was here, it’d be called The Clown In The Crown.

13. Banter with the Gardaí

It’s possible to get out of trouble for most minor crimes by simply acting as if you’re friends with the person who’s supposed to be charging you. Now head straight home lads alright?

14. James Joyce

They read Joyce in every corner of the world, but they lack the option to actually stroll around in the footsteps of the characters. Do it when it’s not Bloomsday so you’re not surrounded by 70 year olds cosplaying Buck Mulligan.

15. Vikings

Dublin was founded by angry Norsemen who needed somewhere to park their boats for the winter so they could rest up for another summer of stealing gold and burning monasteries. That’s way cooler than pilgrims.

16. Common hatred of Bono

Not only do people in other countries often consider Bono to be a talented, respectable superstar, they actually presume that you do too. But your fellow citizens know the truth.

17. Jedward

They might be lunatics, but they are our lunatics.

18. Rugby

In Ireland, our team are proud, manly warriors staring the best in the world in the face with no shame. Elsewhere, they do not know what rugby is.

19. Alcoholism

You drink way too much, and there’s actually serious social stigma attached to that in other countries, on top of the negative stereotypes you’d be reinforcing.

20. Bodytonic

Whether it’s free pizza served from a double-decker bus or filling-loosening sub bass you’re looking for, Bodytonic is looking after your needs. The Shaw and the Twisted Pepper are the cool bars you’re trying to emigrate to hang out in.

21. The Golden Age Of Irish Music

It might be the recession or it might be the fact that every teenager in the country was bought an instrument during the Celtic Tiger. Either way, homegrown bands have stopped worrying about major label deals and started doing something special.

22. Watching live television while on Twitter

As a nation of begrudgers, there’s no better medium for us to unleash pithy remarks at a rate of three per minute without getting punched than Twitter, whether X-Factor or World Cup.

23. Conradh na Gaeilge

Genuine gaeilgeoirí dúchais do still exist, and they’re sitting in a dimly lit corner of the Conradh bar on Harcourt Street. Rumours of 8am table-dancing lock-ins unconfirmed.

24. Never far from green space

If you choose a direction and drive for twenty minutes, you’re likely to encounter livestock, regardless of where you are. Dublin is a good city for agoraphobes.

25. Salted butter

The disappointing, colourless slop that passes for butter in every other country in the world is a disgrace to bread.

26. A proper fry

There are occasions on which nothing else will do but exactly the type of fry-up your mother used to make. To go without proper rashers and sausages is to risk loss of sanity.

27. Asian karaoke

It’s now possible to make for Capel Street and Parnell Street to drink Korean beer and scream the words to Get Low in a small, private booth with your friends. Death to the karaoke MC.

28. Screen Cinema

Almost all of the legacy cinemas in Dublin are gone, but the Screen on Hawkins Street is still representing hard for the non-film school, anti-multiplex movie experience with throwback series and no attempt to bump you up to “premium” seats.

29. Dublin football team

It took a very long time, but we did indeed win the Sam Maguire last year. To turn your back on your countymen in their year of jubilation would be treason.

30. The idea of Coppers

It doesn’t matter that it’s actually a sardine tin full of creeps. Coppers is a word that connotes a novel worth of meaning about teachers, nurses and good Catholic marriage.

31. The Docklands

Representative of Tiger folly in some respects, the Square’s rapid red and green lights, the Theatre, and some really awesome cafes are still a huge improvement over burnt-out mattresses on Misery Hill.

32. Referring to politicians by their first name

You’ve never met Michael D. Higgins, despite his claims to have known your father, but that doesn’t mean you’re ever going to stop calling him Michael D.

33. RAGE

With a big, often renewed stock of secondhand vinyl, old school consoles and games for machines that were obsolete before you were born, the Record and Games Emporium on Fade Street is a shop you never knew you needed. But you did.

34. Saying Paddy rather than Patty when referring to St. Patrick’s Day

Are you really going to allow them to insult the honour of our semi-historic Roman-Welsh patron saint by referring to him by a woman’s name?

35. No snakes

Paddy chased away the snakes that you might lie in longish grass on sunny days without risking death.

36. TG4

Free from the constraints of having to actually please a large audience, TG4 showed both The Wire and the OC first and have a good line in forgotten classic movies. Also, an endless supply of attractive female newsreaders.

37. Laser

The reason a sizeable portion of film aficionados haven’t abandoned DVD rentals, its staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and total movie geeks, and its Trash shelf is full of B-Movie gold.

38. Ranelagh Village

Only a ramble from the city centre, Ranelagh greedily has at least 4 outlets offering the best coffee in Dublin, and there’s no such thing as a bad restaurant along the stretch.

39. Fixx Coffeehouse/The Bald Barista

The former is as homely a café as you’ll find in one of the city’s busiest locations, while the latter affords you opportunities to look cultured to backpackers as you attempt to gain access to their Avalon House bunk-beds.

40. Joe Macken’s food empire

With Jo’Burger, Crackbird, Bear, and Skinflint all in his portfolio, Macken knows how to build a restaurant’s buzz and, more importantly, how to fill your tummy beyond healthy levels.

41. Asia Market

Drury Street’s pan-Asian super-shop is full of all kinds of mental vegetables, medicinal-strength Red Bull, and really sweet shop assistants.

42. The Flea Market

There’s a smorgasbord of really scary car boot sales around town, but if you’re weak of disposition Newmarket’s monthly flea is a serious trove of vintage, tat and treasure.

43. David O’Doherty

Every Dublin generation has a wit to be proud of, and DO’D is ours.

44. Chuggers

They can be the bane of your morning’s walk to work, but remember they’re doing Actually Good Work (and they’ll compliment you loads if you talk to them for five minutes).

45. Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge

The pseudo-classical ruins shouldn’t work, but there’s something affecting about the Memorial Gardens, and even if you’re not into the contemplative space, there’s always canoe-watching down by the river.

46. Phoenix Park

Walk your dog, go deer-spotting, play football or Frisbee, roll down the Pope’s Cross while shouting “such happiness I have never seen”, hang around the American embassy until men in sunglasses move you on. The possibilities are endless.

47. Salmon

There are now salmon in three rivers in Dublin, the Liffey, the Dodder and the Tolka. There are no salmon in any other capital city in the EU.

48. Rubberbandits

Horse Outside went viral in America too, but you get that they were laughing at us rather than with us, right?

49. The Church

Sinéad O’Connor basically made a career out of complaining about the oppressiveness of the Roman Catholic Church. In 2011, she looked like a fool for harping on about it, because we’re finally free.

50. Polish things

The arrival of Polish people, with their good genes and Irish-compatible personalities, led to decent cheap beer and a whole shops worth of stuff that seem like they might be worth a try at least.

51. TV License Inspectors

The word on the street is that TV License inspectors can’t actually come into your house without being invited. Do with this information what you will.

52. National Leprechaun Museum

The only way to make leprechauns acceptable was to reclaim them from the Americans, which we have done by setting up a museum of folklore and fun on Jervis Street complete with a room full of giant furniture.

53. Jokes about Bebo

Hah! Funny picture! Put that on your Bebo, man.

54. St. Kevin’s Park

Sitting in behind Whelans on Wexford Street, there’s a little park around the ruins of St. Kevin’s Church. It’s full of gravestones and it’s quiet, so if you must write terrible poetry, there’s nowhere better.

55. Sound pigeons

Dublin’s pigeons are manageable in number and well-fed enough not to feel like it’s necessary to swarm you for the purposes of intimidating that sandwich out of your hand. They don’t even look that mangy.

56. Stephen’s Green on a sunny day

For centuries, tired city folk have taken to the grass in Stephen’s Green to rest and take in the warmth. There is no better feeling.

57. Trinity College

Forget about the Book of Kells. Turn left before the Dining Hall in Front Square for a tiny cemetery full of ghosts, or ask permission to see St. Patrick’s Well, Gaelic Ireland’s third holiest site, in the Provost’s Garden. Or just drink cans at the Pav.

58. Cheeky kids

If a child on a bike tells you they like your hair, that means that they think your hair looks stupid and that you are an idiot. The city’s children are amongst the world’s most sarcastic.

59. Flann O’Brien

One of the few Irish authors that didn’t just give up and move somewhere else, Flann would have been 100 this year if he’d been immortal. People are finally starting to notice that he’s one of the best writers ever.

60. Taxi driver conversations

Okay, these are usually terrible, but there is one taxi driver in Dublin genuinely mad at the bassist from Aslan for pretending to be psychobilly in Comet Records in the 80s. Ask about it in every taxi you’re in until you find him.

61. Tipping

Conveniently, tipping is at least nominally optional in pretty much every scenario in this country. That means that you can just decide not to do it.

62. Knowing the beggar’s pitch

“Excuse me, can I ask you something? I’m not a junkie or anything, I don’t even drink, I’m just a few euro short for the bus back to Carlow.” You’ve probably never even been to Carlow, mate.

63. Getting your news from the Metro Herald

Its news is simplified to the extent that it’s possible to digest it at 7.30am on a jammed public transport vehicle, and it always has funny animal pictures. It’s like the internet in a free newspaper.

64. Low risk of invasion

Historically, neither the Romans nor the Germans were bothered putting any real thought into invading us even as they tried to take over the entire world. Island living can come in handy.

65. Liveline

You can actually ring the national radio broadcaster and be put on air to ask the owner of the black Labrador in the playground in Termonfeckin to come collect him. Joe Duffy is the people’s champion.

66. The word ‘grand’

Whatever it is, it doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be barely of sufficient quality to be fit for purpose. It’ll be grand.

67. No ironic sports jerseys

Chances are, if you see someone in Dublin wearing a jersey, they’re genuinely a fan. That dude in Williamsburg wearing a Larry Bird throwback Celtics jersey? Not so sure.

68. Ideology is distasteful

Unlike, say, continental Europe, where the political parties are obviously distinguishable by the fact that they actually just put the word “right” of “left” in their names, Irish people abhor ideology. There are bad sides to this, but it does mean we have no organised racist right.

69. Urinating on the street

Although it is technically illegal, everyone agrees that urinating on the street is in fact completely fine so long as you’re at least a little bit discreet. Ever tried it in New York? It’s not fine.

70. Lax door policies

Clubs actually want you to attend them, for the most part, so it doesn’t actually matter that you’re wearing a bin bag and a pair of sandals as long as you buy a few pints.

71. Moore Street

Though now also home to types of food and merchandise that were presumed imaginary in this part of the world until recently, Moore Street’s still vibrant as ever. Rumour has it the same woman has been selling fish there for 200 years.

72. Gaff Parties

The country’s arseways licensing laws may mean our nightlife pales by comparison of other European capitals, but that 9.55pm rush to the offo often inspires the most chaotic of housebound alternatives. Chances are half your mates will roll up by 5 a.m. without you having even invited them.

73. The girls are so pretty

Though apparently susceptible to fever, the women of Dublin are celebrated in the songs of old for their lovely visages. The men are probably handsome too.

74. Merrion Square mound

There’s a large, obviously man-made, rectangular mound in the park in Merrion Square. It turns out it covers a wartime bunker, which is better than our guess, pagan temple.

75. Wexford strawberries

The science behind it is still vague, but it’s observable fact that the best strawberries in the world are grown in Wexford and to be procured by the side of a motorway.

76. Packing

If you emigrated, you’d have to pack. You’d probably forget something.

77. 3FE

Did you know the best coffee you’ll get in all of the world is available in the foyer of our foremost nightclub? Colin Harmon’s experiment in educating our Nescafé-spoiled tastebuds is part of a coffee culture explosion that makes us seem way more cosmopolitan than we are.

78. St. Michan’s

Under a very old church in Smithfield lies a complex of burial vaults containing 12th century mummies, aristocratic grandees and other corpses of note. Also in the graveyard, allegedly, Emmet’s unmarked resting place.

79. Not that much knife crime

You don’t seem to hear that many stories of young lads stabbing people with no motive in Dublin, which is cool.

80. Why Go Bald sign Along with the video screen showing ads above Centra, the Why Go Bald sign on Dame Lane is part of Ireland’s Times Square, asking us all an important question nightly with its neon glow.

81. When the street pattern works

Looking down Capel Street towards City Hall or down Mount Street towards the Pepper Canister, it’s hard not to find Dublin beautiful, even in the rain.

82. Smell of hops from the Guinness factory

It might be owned by a faceless corporation now, but Guinness has been making its area of the city smell in a curious and unique way for 250 years.

83. The Abbey

It’s been a legend ever since Yeats’ dad stood up and called Ireland a land of “plaster saints” during the Playboy of the Western World fracas, and though it’s less controversial now, it’s still important for more than being living history.

84. Charity Shop Mile

From the junction of Georges Street and Dame Street up to Portobello, there’s a plethora of shops full of old clothes, books and records. The price is right, even if the original owner is dead.

85. Wall & Keogh

Thanks to this tea-leaf apothecary, there’s a viable alternative to pub socializing. Try some maté in this Portobello establishment and lose two hours of your life.

86. Natural History Museum

In some countries, museums of natural history have dinosaurs and dazzling audio-visual exhibits. Ours is a big hall full of faded taxidermy, but the pathos is irresistible.

87. Films filmed in Dublin

Glen Hansard getting his fiver robbed in Once, Wilson Pickett’s car stopping beside the band on the quays in The Commitments, the bus rolling through Finglas in Intermission. You’ve been to these places.

88. Pedestrianised areas

Once upon a time it was impossible to lollygag around the middle of Grafton Street without the risk of being run over by a car, but then they made it pedestrian only. Now you can move with your own pace and trajectory.

89. Ethical farming

The meat and dairy industries in Ireland, despite an apparent absence of any real public sentiment on the matter, operate to the high international standards of ethics, so you can feel better about your steak.

90. The Marys

For twenty-one years, from 1990 until 2011, Ireland’s head of state was a woman. That’s still pretty impressive by international standards, even if we fall down elsewhere.

91. The Dodder Rhino

The owners of the Dropping Well in Milltown deny any responsibility for the metal rhino statue that showed up in the Dodder beside their pub a few years ago, but he’s definitely there.

92. Howth Hill Few cities have their own little wilderness like this, punctuated by rope swings repaired a million times.

93. Blackberry picking

Eat more of them than you collect. Anywhere along the DART line usually has loads.

94. Dollymount beach Christmas swim

Jump in the sea with old people who’ve done it since forever. Then it’s free hot whiskey wrapped in your towel!

95. Dublin Bikes

The city swapped some advertising space for them, now there’s shrewd thinking.

96. Horses

The carriages at Stephen’s Green, youngfellas on those chariot things in the Liberties and that guy who still delivers coal on a cart.

97. Temple Bar

OK sure, it’s often teeming with tourists, but at least they’re all kept in one place

98. The streetlights on Merrion Square

The council has kept a living record of all the styles of streetlight in the city’s history around Merrion Square. Beautiful.

99. Chester Beatty Library

Sir Alfred “King of Copper” Chester Beatty’s collection of rare books and manuscripts is one of the finest in the world, and is open to the public in his library, located within the grounds of Dublin Castle.

100. Jambons

These are the savoury pastry mittens of cold winter nights, acting as handwarmers as you scurry along the streets. The perfect size for a wee munch between pubs, or on your way home, they can be found in literally every hot-food counter in Dublin. Best eaten when slightly inebriated.

101. Toasties in Grogan’s –

It would be too hard to know that this comfort of all comforts was not within walking distance. Paired with a creamy pint of Guinness, it’s the dinner of Kings, Queens and high-functioning alcoholics.

102. Banter with Auld Ones

Do older folk in other countries chat as easily to youngsters as they seem to do here? For example, during our snowy spell last year I slipped a bit on some ice, prompting a very old and toothless man nearby to trill “Don’t be fallin’ for me, love!”

103. The Cop On Forcefield

No matter how hipstery we might get, there’ll always be someone on hand to bring us back down to reality. A genuinely useful form of begrudgery.

104. Canal cans

Not exactly wine on the banks of the Seine but it has its own charm.

105. The North-South divide

What other city can boast such a humorous divide by a mere cross of a river? From peaked caps worn at 45* angles to jager chugging rugby boys, you might just miss ’em if you up sticks.

106. Father Ted

If you stay on our green shores you’ll never have to deal with that disappointing look of bewilderment when you reference cocaine cake.

107. Christmas Toy Show

There’s scarcely anything better for Yuletide cheer than donning your best geansai nollaig for this well established institution.

108. Packages Ih Cripps

Producing some our childhood favorite crisps in ways you would never experience anywhere else: Banshee Bones, Hot Lips and Monster Munch. Tayto and King still slay gourmet competition.

109. Club Rock Shandy and Red Lemonade

You’d never know you missed them until that faint pang returns and you realise you’re surrounded by european water bottles with varying levels of fizz in them.

110. The Nitelink

Probably one of the only night buses in the world where you can be united in a chant with every single passenger on the way home.

111. Pedestrian disregard for bicycles

Cycling is healthy and admirable from an environmental standpoint, but the constant risk of having your flank annihilated by a biker bombing down the European “cycle lane” you’re meandering in is no joke. Cyclists (resentfully) know their place here.

112. The Shamrock Rovers renaissance

After a dark period of being called “homeless bastards” at every away match, Rovers beat Partisan Belgrade and got to invite the mighty Tottenham Hotspur to their new home. It was a proud day for Ireland, and a proud day for Tallaght.

113. The chance to correct your vote in referendums

The government didn’t physically threaten you into actually reading the literature the first time, so it’s their fault you voted the wrong way. You deserve another chance.

114. National Museum

The Kildare Street arm of the National Museum contains a record of Ireland’s material culture from the stone age up till the Adventus Anglorum, featuring a dazzling array of gold objects.

115. National Gallery

Visit the building that Colm Tóibín considers the most beautiful place in Dublin to view monumental eschatological works and Mass In A Connemara Cabin.

116. Mini-Galleries Abound

While our array of national and hugely-Arts-Council-subsidised galleries offer visitors a glance into Irish culture, the work of the little guys – spots like Monster Truck, Mother’s Tankstation, and Block T remind us on a monthly basis that artistic expression flows through our blood.

117. Glasnevin Cemetery

The final repose of 1.1 miliion Dubliners features the graves of everyone from Brendan Behan to de Valera and Collins to the blind bard of the Liberties himself, Zozimus.

118. Sheridans Cheesemongers

The French have a thousand types of cheese, but they never got around to inventing Cashel Blue or any of the other fine Irish cheeses stocked in this near-institution.

119. O’Connell Street statuary

From Charles Stewart Parnell wearing two overcoats to William Smith O’Brien, whose plinth calls him a traitor in English and a martyr in Irish, the centre of O’Connell Street is Ireland’s great kilometre of public art.

120. Fair City

It is in art that we truly discover ourselves and, in the trials and tribulations of the salty, less salty and obviously nouveau riche of Carrigstown, we find a mirror.

121. Rocque’s map

Sir John Rocque’s map of Dublin, drawn in 1756, illustrates the city rebuilt from its medieval roots, prepared to become the Second City of the Empire. Have fun spotting streets that are no longer there.

122. Dalkey Island

With habitation going from the Stone Age through hermit monks to medieval markets, Vikings, a Martello tower and eventually a herd of wild goats, Dalkey Island’s full of history and an excuse for a boat trip.

123. Donnybrook Fair

The term ‘donnybrook’ in the English language refers to “a scene of uproar and disorder”, because of the amount of fights that broke out at the market there in olden times. Starting rows in the modern artisan supermarket is not advisable though.

124. BYOB gigs

The kind of people in bands are the kind of people who probably can’t bear the financial burden of pub-price pints every time they play, so places like The Joinery in Stoneybatter stepped up to provide a space for cheap can-drinking and head-bopping.

125. Arthur’s Day

We know it’s a marketing scam, but it is an admittedly ingenious one, and it leads to a day of the year where every pub in the city is filled with enthusiastic people

126. People’s houses on the Luas Green Line

Anybody with any sense wanted them to build an underground, because undergrounds are cool, but they didn’t. On the plus side, though, our metropolitan transit lets us see into people’s gardens and kitchen windows.

127. Dublin Mountains

Watch the mountains in the distance on a clear day as you come southbound into town or, even better, watch the city (or the sea) from Three Rock in the mountains.

128. Grafton Street before Christmas

It’s full of countryfolk and confused parents, no doubt, but only the hardest of heart could deny a certain beauty in the glint of the draped lights through foggy breath as couples walk arm-in-arm. Ahem.

129. Henry St before Christmas

Conversely, full of children and stalls, Henry Street in the darkest days of the year isn’t particularly romantic, but there’s something satisfying about haggling over your deal for multiple selection boxes.

130. Sea salt and brown bread ice cream from Murphy’s

Ireland’s humble milch cow is responsible for a lot of the item’s here. Full credit to Murphy’s of Exchequer St. and elsewhere for running with that and turning it into unlikely, delicious ice cream though.

131. Ireland changes without you

It might seem that, as Joyce had a tendency to implied, Ireland is locked in stasis, running in circles rather than forward. But if you go, it will not wait for you. The city in your mind is a snapshot, not a living place.

132. The Hideout House

Hidden away off the North Circular Road on Campbell’s Row, the Hideout House is in the tradition of the housing estate pub, set into a big house, but it’s lively, unpretentious and it provides free sandwiches after Dublin matches.

133. Big Monster Love

The only Dublin indie pop act with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Irish folk music, Big Monster Love’s odes to Swords and sweets sung in a sonorous northside accent make him the de facto poet laureate.

134. Jumping in the Liffey for a bet

You’ve thought about doing it, but until a possibly mitching Leon took the 50 euro wager and put the results on Youtube, you lacked the inspiration to do anything about it. Remember though: it’s freezing, obviously, it’s water.

135. Dunsink Observatory

On the first and third Wednesday of every month it’s possible to visit one of Ireland’s oldest scientific institutions and look at the stars the way they were meant to be seen – through a huge telescope beside a dump.

136. Ringing the bells in Christchurch

The guided tour of Dublin’s millennium-old cathedral features the opportunity to ring its bells under supervision, and if you just want to play the hunchback, all you need to do is email ringingmaster@cccdub.ie and ask.

137. Pubs that are institutions

Kehoe’s on Anne Street, the Long Hall on Aungier Street, Mulligans on Poolbeg Street, the Palace Bar on Fleet Street. Each unique in its own right, and each better than any pub in any other country. Science fact.

138. Windsurfing

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dublin Bay is a great place to go windsurfing on a squally day. Go to Dollymount and look out for international star Mikey Clancy, who’s there most days flying through the air as you paddle past.

139. Botanic Gardens

If you really must be in a tropical climate, the Botanic (or, colloquially, Botanical) Gardens in Glasnevin afford you the opportunity to lounge in the jungle-like glasshouses along with the cat who seems to never be awake.

140. The Ha’penny Bridge

The best way to cross the Liffey on foot, the 1816 cast-iron bridge was iconic long before Phil Lynott walked over in the Old Town video. If you can’t use the Ha’penny Bridge itself, then the adjacent, boring Millennium Bridge provides a good view.

141. The Science Gallery

If you stopped learning things when you were 24, one visit to the Trinity-outskirt living museum will reinitiate your education. Consistently manages to host imaginative, sometimes yucky exhibits.

142. Poker

For some reason, poker became the national pastime in the last decade or so. Arrive sober at 3am to collect money from reckless drunks in the Fitzwilliam Card Club or the Voodoo on Arran Quay.

143. Irish Yeast Company

Need to buy yeast? Buy it from 11.30-1.30 at the Irish Yeast Company, which has been confusing people on College Street with its apparent lack of financial viability since time immemorial

144. North Great Georges Street

The jewel of Dublin’s northside Georgian quarter is home to Mr. Norris and, according to commentator Jim Ross in what seems bizarrely specific for American television, the birthplace of former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.

145. Seagulls

They’re taking over. Whether bullying pigeons in Trinity or pretending to be ducks in Stephen’s Green, seagulls have decided that tourist leftovers belong to them.

146. Jewish Quarter

Portobello was once the home of the Jewish community in Ireland. Since providing Israel with its sixth president, Chaim Herzog, the population waned, but the Bretzl Bakery on Lennox Street and the museum at the South Circular Road keep the memory alive.

147. Music Hall

In what is basically Ireland’s only claim to fancy classical music credibility, Georg Friedrich Handel debuted his Messiah in the Great Music Hall on Fishamble Street. It’s gone now, but there are celebrations every April in commemoration.

148. Black Church

Rooted perhaps in fear of Protestantism, there is a myth that walking three times around the Black Church (around the corner from Mountjoy Street) will have you face to face with the devil. Decide what you want for your soul in advance.

149. Toilet of Pintxos

The tapas are delicious, no doubt, but the real reason to visit is to pay a visit to the absurdly opulent toilets, all scarlet and gold. Being “on the throne” is not a euphemism in Pintxos bathroom.

150. Toilets of everywhere else

Seán Ó Faoláin once claimed that the short story was the medium of the Irish. He is wrong, of course. The medium of the Irish is the door and wall of the toilet cubicle, where the drunken poets of the nation conduct their salons.

151. IMMA

Aside from the ever-changing, impressive collection of modern art in its confines, the buildings and wonderfully designed gardens of the Royal Hospital at Kilmainhaim are reason enough to visit.

152. Georges Street Launderette

It’s December. You’re wet as an otter’s pocket and colder than a nun’s something or other. FYL. FYL. FYL. Then, halfway up Georges Street, a motherly hug of warm air and just-ironed shirt scent embraces you. The best 2 second blast of wind you could hope for.

153. Wax Museum criers

Employed by the Wax Museum beside Bank of Ireland College Green to rope in tourists and passers-by, the jaunty hats and period costume of the Wax Museum criers all but demand that you speak to them in olde-timey fashion. Expect them to respond in kind.

154. Traditional Japanese throat singer

No-one knows where he came from, or what he’s doing there, or even if he’s definitely a man, but the person in East Asian costume scraping a stick and producing tuneless sound with his throat on Grafton Street deserves the freedom of the city by now.

155. The walls

On Cook Street, below St. Audoen’s Church, there’s a big stretch of Dublin’s old medieval wall still intact. Go to it and reminisce about a time before suburban sprawl, when the city was a mile wide and culchies had to pay to get in.

156. The Queen

The Queen of England, enemy of Celtic fans and extremely drunk people citywide, visited Ireland this year and, to our eternal credit, we didn’t do anything to embarrass ourselves. She didn’t drink the Guinness though.

157. Jameson Tower

Dublin’s not a city with a lot of tall structures, so the old chimney of the Jameson distillery in Smithfield provides a really good opportunity to survey matters from above and see how many of the churches you can name.

158. Chapters – Relocated from the oppressive confines of an Abbey Street basement to a huge, bright upper floor on Parnell Street, Chapters’ giant collection of second hand books continues to look after your budget and your mind.

159. The Hop House

Have you ever wondered where all the thirty-somethings in Massive Attack t-shirts go for the 51 weekends between Electric Picnics? They go to the Hop House on Parnell Street to drink bottles of Korean homebrew.

160. Patrick Kavanagh

He wanted to be commemorated by the water, so when he died, Dublin celebrated the nation’s most cantankerous poet with a ponderous statue, seated on a bench beside the Grand Canal. A fitting tribute.

161. The other canal

Oft-forgotten because of its unfashionable position on the northside, the Royal Canal’s actually longer than the Grand Canal and, if nothing else, provides an excellent daytime can-drinking spot for youths headed to Hill 16 on sunny days.

162. Winter ice-skating

It’s stressful trying to navigate the one-way system of Smithfield’s seasonal ice rink, weaving around couples doing the stereotypical couples thing and trying to avoid that one kid going 70 miles an hour. But it’s fun.

163. Bus back entertainment

Losing touch with the kids is an impossibility for Dublin Bus passengers since someone came up with the idea of putting speakers in mobile phones. And Super Bass is actually not that bad.

164. Public clocks disagreeing

Flann O’Brien, listing examples of ‘Irishness’ in his Irish Times column, astutely noted that the public timepieces of our fair isle very rarely tell the same time. This confusion is why you are always late.

165. Cineworld unlimited card

For a mere twenty euro a month, you can see every film shown in Cineworld on Parnell Street. You can even see them multiple times, if you are really that into Ryan Gosling movies.

166. The lads in top hats at the Westin

They’re wearing top hats and fancy suits, and they’re pretty much paid to be nice to everyone. So put your arm around one, hold your drink in the air with the other hand, and smile for the camera.

167. Wood Quay amphitheatre

Dublin City Council, still known as the Corpo to elder statesemen bar-props, is a horrible structure on an incredibly important historical site. But it does have a cool amphitheatre out the back for some reason.

168. Irish Times building

There is unending amusement to be derived from staring into the lit-up new Irish Times office on Tara Street and trying to spot Róisín Ingle. She’s probably never there, but we’ll keep trying.

169. George Salmon statue

Famous for announcing that women would be allowed to study in Trinity over his dead body, former provost George Salmon surveys Front Square with a look of mild disgust on his face. Probably because of all the women.

170. Mario building

Beside Tara Street train station, there is a large building with a variety of pyramids atop it that could not feasibly be used for anything other than a level of Super Mario.

171. Kilmainham Gaol

Fill your ears with candle wax to drown out the uninformed and belittling questions of tourists as you tour Kilmainham Gaol either for its importance during the War of Independence or just because it is a bad-ass old jail.

172. Old city characters

From Bang Bang, who shot passers-by with his finger well into middle age, to the old traffic director at Essex Bridge who is said to have refused a job in Times Square because he liked the look of Capel Street, Dublin has a history of producing ‘characters’.

173. Resentment of success

How do we feel about your promotion/competition win/nice-looking hair cut? We hate it. Who do you think you are, Bono? And who does Bono think he is, for that matter, the Pope?

174. The smell

You don’t notice it until you’ve been away for a while, but Dublin has a very distinctive smell. Not a bad one, necessarily, but a distinctive one. It’s something to do with the climate, possibly.

175. It’s really old

Dublin was founded in 841 (not, as everyone confusingly asserted, 988), which makes it at least 700 years older than New York and thus able to beat it up.

176. Jonathan Swift

The old Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral once suggested that the rich of the city eat the poor, as a solution to rampant poverty. He was joking, of course, and thus invented Dublin wit in 1729. “Imitate him if you dare”, as his epitaph says.

177. Two degrees of separation

Everyone you meet knows someone you know. This is a scientifically verifiable fact.

178. Dublin Castle

Started in 1204 on the orders of King John, famous for being mean to Robin Hood, the Castle is where most of the important matters in Dublin’s history happened. Its gardens, on the supposed site of the pool after which Dubhlinn is named, are quiet and strange in a nice way.

179. Collins Barracks

The longest continuously occupied barracks in the world up until 1997 is now the National Museum’s decorative arts branch, and it’s full of curios, from King Billy’s gauntlet to Wolfe Tone’s pocket book.

180. The Croppy Acre

The park in front of Collins Barracks is said to contain the unmarked graves of executed 1798 rebels, its memorial providing a reminder that the new museum has a slightly grislier past than most.

181. Crusties

Whether becoming competent with the diablo or occupying Dame Street, Dublin’s crusties seem less self-righteous than those of other places. Without them, music festivals would all be Oxegen.

182. Music festivals

Within half a day’s drive from town, as literally everything on the island of Ireland is, there are a whole array of fun music festivals to attend in the summer, from the mighty Electric Picnic right down to Annagassan, Co. Louth’s van-themed Vantastival.

183. The Spire

Say what you want about its cost, its pointlessness or its phallic connotations, the Monument of Light gave Dublin a recognisable skyline.

184. Poolbeg Towers

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, those twin towers in Ringsend are working hard on providing you with electricity, and being iconic.

185. Green With Envy

Flea markets, car boot sales and clothes swaps seem to be popping up everywhere these days but fashion middle-man Green With Envy, Rathmines Road has taken the pain out of flogging your once treasured garb.

186. Rathmines Library

We owe the existence of this little gem to the so called ‘patron saint of libraries’, a philanthropic American by the name of Andrew Carnegie, widely known for the famous Carnegie Hall.

187. Twinned With Beijing

As of this year, Dublin expanded its twin list beyond San Jose, California, Liverpool, England and Barcelona, Spain to include the capital of China, which will hopefully be useful when it runs the world.

188. The River Poddle

You can’t see it but it’s there, underneath you on Dame Street running into the Liffey. Most people don’t even know that.

189. Ghosts

From Darkey Kelly on Copper Alley to the Green Lady of St. Audoen’s, Dublin is full of ghosts, which would have been a bad thing until Harry Potter made them seem less spooky.

190. Dan Rooney

America’s ambassador to Ireland resides in the Phoenix Park, where he spent two months preparing a professional standard American football pitch for a casual July 4th game that included both US Marines and McAleese children. He owns the Pittsburgh Steelers, by the way.

191. The Cobblestone

Walking into a knackered boozer at 5 on a Saturday afternoon to find 8 beardy lads singing ballads over cups of tae.

192. Our prowess at insults

Poxbottle, hunga, dose, wetzer, you smell like a hoor’s handbag.
193. Funderland

We lack a permanent fairground, so during those glorious 3 weeks over Christmas a rusty, crusty, money-grabbing behemoth pops up the whole world and its little brother can be found abusing carnies and shifting behind the Terminator at the RDS.

194. The Aviva Stadium

Even if you don’t make it to an international, the sight of a real modern stadium on TV when we play small Baltic states makes you feel like we’re better than them, at least infrastructurally.

195. Dublin Zoo

OK, so your abiding memory from childhood might be squinting into the hippo pool for half an hour because they can’t be arsed performing for you, but when the monkeys start messing and the penguins are Michelle de Bruining around the place, the Zoo is pretty much untouchable.

196. Coddle

This remains the only place in the world it is acceptable to eat the components of a fry in soup.

197. Mary Shrines

Vestiges of our ultra-Catholic recent past exist in the variety of sometimes-pretty, sometimes tacky shrines of Our Lady dotted around the city. Collect ‘em all at http://marianireland.blogspot.com/

198. Bullet-holes in buildings

You can actually touch history if you visit Boland’s Mills, the GPO, and a variety of other places.

199. The National Concert Hall

With rumours that it’s unoccupied rooms will become a new branch of IMMA in the light of Dublin Contemporary’s success, the NCH is a spectacular building. Its cheap lunchtime concerts are an excellent starting point for the classically uninitiated.

200. Totally Dublin

Sure where’d you be without us?

Compiled by Karl McDonald, with help from the T.D. staff. Illustrated by Fuchsia Macaree.


The key to the city. Straight to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter.


National Museum 2024 – Irish


The key to the city. Straight to your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter.